Two Million Cheez-Its And Counting

Circa 1970 one of the greatest culinary stories of my life took root: My infatuation with Cheez-It crackers. Just about everyone knows Cheez-Its. They are crunchy and salty one-inch squares, baked amalgams of cheese, wheat flour, paprika, etc.  Back then there probably was only one variety of Cheez-Its. The divine original in other words, the sort I stuck with through the years till recently switching to the Extra Toasty style. Today there are more than 25 Cheez-It types to choose from, including Whole Grain, Cheddar Jack and Mozzarella. They take up a whole lot of shelf space in most supermarkets, so clearly I’m not alone in loving Its. As we’ve been told, great minds think alike.

Cheez-It crackers in two of its many varieties.
Cheez-It crackers in two of their many varieties.

And you know what? I’ve eaten 2,000,000 Cheez-It crackers in my life, give or take a couple hundred thousand. That’s a lot of individual food items going down the gullet. Have I ever eaten more separate pieces of anything over the years? I’ve given this plenty of thought. Who wouldn’t? The only thing I can come up with is grains of rice. Maybe I’ve consumed more than 2,000,000 grains of rice. I’ll investigate that subject one of these days and let an anxious world know the results. But on with the current story.

Two million Cheez-Its. How did I arrive at that figure? It wasn’t easy. The question is deep. And so, at a loss for determining a calculation method, I started where most sensible people would start. That is, I got in touch with someone much smarter than me. I had been in phone contact with Dr. Vinnie Bubalinsky before. He’s head of the mathematics department at St. Louis Institute of Advanced Abstract And Profound Research. I had called him from out of the blue a year ago, explaining that I was wondering about angels gyrating, not dancing, on the head of the average pin. How many might fit there? Vinnie hadn’t a clue, had very little response at all to tell you the truth. I was glad to learn that tough questions don’t necessarily evoke glib answers.

The other day I dialed Vinnie’s number again and told him about my Cheez-It quandary. Vinnie remembered me. “What the f – – k’s wrong with you?” he asked. Patiently. “Get a life, you loser,” he added before ending our conversation. I would if I knew how.

I was on my own. I grabbed my favorite pen, a load of blank paper and a calculator. And I began to work out the numbers. Leave it to the Cheez-It manufacturer to make things difficult. I mean, for decades Its had come in an understandable size, a one pound package. That’s the same as 16 ounces I’ll mention to those of you who left school a long time ago. But in 2008 the Its maker downsized the box to 13.7 ounces, a strange number to be sure. And last year they did it again. The standard Cheez-It box now contains 12.4 ounces of product.

And if all that weren’t bad enough, I had to throw into the equation the fact that my Its consumption habits have changed over time. For years and years I would down three or four pounds of Its weekly. I easily could knock off a box while watching a baseball game on television. But those heights are a distant memory. In the early aughts my intake of Its dropped by half. And it has continued to shrink. For the last few years I’ve eaten about three-quarters of a pound per week.

The tools that I used for my daunting calculations.
The tools that I used for my daunting calculations.

OK. I sat at the dining room table for hours, scribbling, sweating, cursing, punching wildly at calculator keys. The basic fact that I always held onto came from the side panel of each Cheez-It box: Twenty-seven Its weigh 30 grams. And 30 grams, I found out elsewhere, are the same as about 1.1 ounces. Needless to say, progress was slow. But things eventually started to come together, to make sense. Two million Cheez-It crackers was the approximate number that I had chewed and swallowed, I finally concluded. I picked up the phone and dialed Vinnie Bubalinsky’s number, ready to gloat. But I hung up after one ring. He will read about my triumph soon enough, no doubt, on this page. Vinnie, some losers never quit.

I’d like to put my Its consumption in perspective. We all agree that 2,000,000 Cheez-It crackers are a massive amount. In fact, if you placed them edge-to-edge on a flat and straight-as-an-arrow highway, they would extend for 31.5 miles, a very sizeable distance. But wait . . . there’s something I hadn’t thought about: In a car you’d cover those miles in less than half an hour. And yet it took me 45 years to eat the crackers. What does this mean? That cars are about 1,000,000 times faster than the human mouth? That highways inherently are inappropriate places to place Cheez-Its? I really don’t know. I’m confused. I need help.

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(Photos by Sandra Cherrey Scheinin. If you click on a photo, a larger image will open)

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18 thoughts on “Two Million Cheez-Its And Counting

  1. BuntyMcC January 24, 2016 / 7:59 am

    If you come to Canada, bring your own. We don’t have them here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joyce January 24, 2016 / 8:57 am

    I also like Cheez-its. My friend’s mother had a recipe using the crackers that tasted just like apple pie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger January 24, 2016 / 1:37 pm

      Joyce, please do the calculations and let me know how many Cheez-Its you have eaten in your life.

      Like

  3. Still the Lucky Fews January 24, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Vinnie is unnecessarily mean. Hope he reads this page and sees this comment. I can understand your obsession, having been involved in a flower count in my city (Victoria, Canada) several times. I know all about the collection of useless information. I like the image of 31.5 miles of Cheez-Its placed end to end. I see it as sort of a highway, where itty bitty tinker toy cars zoom along and bump each other off!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger January 24, 2016 / 1:40 pm

      A flower count? That sounds harder to do than calculating Cheez-Its consumption!

      Like

  4. Aunt Beulah January 25, 2016 / 2:13 pm

    Yes, you are confused; and now I am as well. I love peanuts; eat them every chance I get. My mind keeps wanting to go there, but I keep telling it I don’t really care how many peanuts I’ve eaten in my life. However, tormented as I now am, I’m still glad I read your blog because of this sentence: “That cars are about 1,000,000 times faster than the human mouth?

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger January 25, 2016 / 4:12 pm

      Ah yes, peanuts. I love them too. Haven’t had any in at least a week. I’ll have to end the no-peanut streak within the next few days.

      Like

  5. swabby429 January 28, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    I like Cheez-Its a lot, too. Sometimes, I deviate from the path and buy Cheese Nips if they’re on sale.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brian Lageose January 29, 2016 / 12:56 am

    It’s always nice to run into other people who understand the intricacies and, more importantly, the necessity of quests such as this. We simply MUST know. Now, I’m off to figure out exactly how many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I’ve slaughtered in the past 50 years… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cindy January 30, 2016 / 11:22 am

    Did Cheez-Its get their evocative name from “Cheese it, the cops!”? Maybe your friend Vinnie Bubalinsky would know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger January 30, 2016 / 11:59 am

      I called Dr. Bubalinsky a few minutes ago. His first words to me were: “If you ever call me again, I’ll . . . ”
      Needless to say, I hung up before he could complete his thoughts.

      Like

  8. aj vosse February 10, 2016 / 8:21 am

    Maybe… now I’m also confused and in need of help! Maybe… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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